Disney CEO Bob Iger Reveals Plan To Reduce International Original Programming
With the return of Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO, the company has gone through a major change with its restructuring, and more changes are due to arrive as the company shifts to focusing on profitability from its streaming services rather than growing subscribers.
Since Disney+ launched back in 2019, it is now available in more than one hundred countries, which has resulted in Disney creating original shows around the world, such as “Snowdrop” from Korea, “Extraordinary” from the UK, “Weekend Family” from France and “Shipwreck Hunters” from Australia.
As Disney+ continues to grow its subscribers, it has created lots of new local original original programming to appeal to a local audience, especially as, internationally, not everyone wants to watch shows created in the US. They want something that represents their lives, and their cultures and is also native to their language. Many countries around the world also impose quotas or restrictions on streaming services like Disney+, where they have to have a minimum amount of local content or pay towards making local content. There are also lots of other countries starting to introduce these rules, to help protect their film industries, as otherwise, global streamers like Disney+ and Netflix will primarily just be full of American content, which hurts local film industries and will result in a loss of culture.
With hundreds of shows being created internationally by Disney, we are going to see a change moving forward, as Disney has restructured its entertainment business, with the studios having more control over what they make and where it is released. Under the old system, international content was being created by different teams around the world, which has resulted in a huge wave of new content being released on Disney+ and Hulu.
But this is going to change, as Disney CEO Bob Iger recently announced a restructuring of its international content system and during a recent Q&A session at Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Bob Iger explained how we would see some changes:
It’s hard to tell how much it impacted financial results, because it happened during the pandemic and everything was changed at that time. And I don’t want to be — I can’t be that specific. Frankly, if you would ask me what the number was, I wouldn’t — I don’t know. What I do know is that this new structure gives us an opportunity to reduce expenses. We announced reducing expenses by $5.5 billion. That’s partially the result of this reorganization. It also gives us an opportunity to be just — I think, not just efficient, but effective.
Another side to the reorganization that was — that we’ve just done that I think will prove valuable is that there was a disconnect between what were making in international markets and what we were making in the United States for global distribution. And I think that we might have created an imbalance of sorts, because territory managers of the Disney+ platform were leaning more into what they were producing locally, which has some value, but perhaps not relying as much on what was being produced for global consumption. And that’s another opportunity for us in terms of reducing expenses.
Over the past year, we’ve seen the number of international originals arriving on Hulu and Disney+ drastically increase, and there are some incredible shows being created. But it does look like we are going to see a slowdown in original international content, as Disney is looking to save over $5 billion in the next few years, with $3 billion of those savings set to come from its entertainment division.
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